In a real-life “crime doesn’t pay” saga, Barton Austin Houchins, 26, of Roundhill in Edmonson County, stopped in Salings Grocery at Nolin Dam with ill intentions, as he allegedly attempted to shop-lift a bottle of chocolate milk. Store employees, though, noticed the transgression and immediately called police.
It was several days earlier that Houchins had stolen a 16-foot utility trailer in Hart County and sold it for scrap at an Edmonson County scrap yard. The sharp-eyed owner of the scrap yard, noticing that the trailer was worth much more than the $400.30 he would pay in scrap for the equipment, alerted Hart County Deputy Sheriff Joey Cox, who lives just down the road from the scrap yard.
Cox arrived at the scrap yard and was presented with the various forms of ID Houchins had to provide in order to scrap the trailer for money. Cox, with a name and a copy of the driver’s license of the alleged perpetrator, then alerted two Kentucky State Police posts and six county sheriff’s offices to find out if anyone in the area had reported a stolen trailer.
To his great surprise, Cox did not hear back from any of the agencies he alerted about the possible theft.
Then, three days later, Jerry Doyle of Edmonson County, noticed his nearly new utility trailer was missing from his property. He notified his nephew, Edmonson County Lt. Shane Doyle of the Sheriff’s Department, that his trailer was gone.
Lt. Doyle, remembering the alert sent out by Cox, contacted the Hart County Sheriff’s Department that his uncle’s trailer was missing. The two police agencies then got together and exchanged information. It was at that point that Lt. Doyle discovered the identity of the person responsible for the theft of his uncle’s trailer.
Not long after Lt. Doyle’s discovery, Houchins walked into Salings Grocery and allegedly tried to steal the chocolate milk. Police arrived and discovered the alleged milk thief was also the person allegedly responsible for the trailer theft. Making matters worse for Houchins -- upon his arrest for the milk theft, police found drugs and drug paraphernalia on his person.
Jerry Doyle has now been reunited with his missing trailer, and Houchins is in the Hart County jail, charged with the trailer theft and drug possession.